I am professionally responsible to keep my clients up to date on the best marketing solutions that are affordable and effective. Well, mobile is taking off like lit rocket fuel and along with it, new and amazing applications. Some of the Geo-Location applications like Foursquare, Gowala and now Facebook Places, have some fantastic marketing opportunities for businesses like restaurants and other venues.
When I last checked, Foursquare was nearing four million members and Gowala wasn't too far behind. There are other mobile geo applications and I promise to share information later on some of the other applications that are great marketing ideas like QR Codes. But for the purpose of this post, I am just talking about Geo-Location applications.
These are applications that report where you are and broadcast that information across your social media platforms. Very cool and there are a lot of reasons as a marketer why I find this exciting. Foursquare does give you some options to not post immediately while Gowala insists on real time, but either way if you are personally using these services, please be careful.
As a marketing professional I see the possibilities with this technology but as a prospective user, I have a problem. I have been listening to promoters of this technology and they rightflully refer to the existing communities as ‘early adopters’ and that the rest of us are lagards. And that may be the case, but I can think of no valid reason to broadcast to the world where I am, but then I am not hip, cool, and young. Do you really want to know what restaurant or bar I am hanging out at – if it is noteworthy I will let you know about it when I get back.
I have a lot of personal concerns with Geo-Location applications and I discourage friends and family from using it. So here are some of the questions that come up for me personally:
1. If you don’t see me out and about does that mean I am home being unsocial?
2. If you see that I am out is that an invitation to visit my home and ransack it while I am away?
3. If you see who I am hanging out with are you going to pass judgment?
4. If you pay attention to how often I am out are you counting my spend rate?
5. If I didn’t want to hang out with you I probably didn’t invite you – but you show up – now what?
6. If I declined an invitation from you and show up at some other place – oops.
7. If I am looking for a stalker in my life, what a great way for them to follow me – live and in real time.
(The YOU in this list is not meant as you – so please don't be offended. It is a metaphorical 'someone'.)
Well I don’t mean to sound paranoid or even self conscious enough to worry about what others think of me, but I am not willing to share this level of information – it feels wrong. Maybe because I am a woman, maybe because I don’t think laying one’s self out this far is a good idea.
So feeling the way I do about this, how am I to recommend these marketing tactics to my clients? Maybe I won’t, and if they ask, I will send them a link to this post along with a note that says “it isn’t for me but lets see how we can work it into your campaign”.
Have you gone GEO? I would love to hear your experience and thoughts.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at email@example.com.